Who has the edge? Texas State edition
LARAMIE – People like to say that the game of football is not played on paper.
They are right. But it’s still fun to look.
Today, we will breakdown the offenses of the Texas State
Bobcats and Wyoming Cowboys. The two squads will meet Saturday in San Marcos,
So, who has the edge on offense?
Let’s break it down real quick.
In most cases, two is better than one. That isn’t the case in San Marcos. Not so far anyway. The Bobcats played both Montana transfer, Gresch Jensen, and Tyler Vitt in their season opener in College Station. Jensen completed 20-of-31 passes for 160 yards a touchdown and two interceptions in a 41-7 loss to the Aggies of Texas A&M. Vitt, who got the opening-night start, completed just nine of 15 passes for 51 yards and a pair of picks. Bobcat quarterbacks averaged just 4.6 yards per pass. They didn’t run the ball particularly well, either. Vitt finished with minus-12 yards while Jensen picked up two. Yes, this was against Texas A&M, but last season wasn’t much better for Texas State signal callers. Vitt and Co. were the boasted the least-productive offense in the Sun Belt Conference, averaging just 19.8 points per game. Vitt threw just seven touchdowns last season.
Wyoming’s passing game wasn’t exactly impressive in a 37-31 upset win over Missouri last Saturday, but Sean Chambers showed he still has plenty of juice in those legs after suffering a season-ending injury in 2018. The redshirt freshman led the Cowboys with 120 yards rushing, including busting a 75-yard scamper into the end zone in the second quarter. Chambers only attempted 16 passes in the opener, completing just six of them for 92 yards. But unlike Texas State QB’s, he didn’t turn the ball over once. Chambers has a long way to go in the passing attack, but his X-factor makes him better than anyone in the Bobcats’ QB room.
Anthony D. Taylor, Texas State’s leading rusher in 2018, amassed 19 yards on seven carries in Aggieland. Ouch. Last season, Taylor rushed for 312 yards on 86 carries and found the end zone four times. He was bottled up by the Aggies from the word go. With no real passing threat, he didn’t have much of a chance anyway. Caleb Twyford had four carries for minus-1 yards. Despite returning the entire interior offensive line from a year ago, things didn’t get much better in the opener. Was that just the Bobcats’ opponent? We will see Saturday night in San Marcos.
Wyoming clearly has the edge here. And bad news for Texas State – there’s three guys who can pound the rock for the Cowboys. Xazavian Valladay had a huge opener, rushing for 119 yards on just 15 carries. His 61-yard touchdown jaunt got the Cowboys within three after a disastrous start that saw Mizzou take an early 14-0 lead. Louisville grad transfer, Trey Smith, also scored a touchdown and capped his first game as a Cowboy with 18 yards on six carries. True freshman and Texas native, Titus Swen, was impressive in his first collegiate action, carrying the ball eight times for 45 hard-earned yards.
WIDE RECEIVERS/ TIGHT ENDS:
If there was a bright spot for the Bobcats in week one it was the play of their receivers. Hutch White caught a team-high seven passes for 60 yards, and Trevis Graham Jr. snagged the lone touchdown pass while also tallying 53 yards on just four catches. Seth Caillouet also hauled in four balls for 37 yards. Texas State has some talent on the outside, but do they have the quarterback to consistently get the ball to them? Sound familiar? Most of these passing yards for the Bobcats came in garbage time when the Aggies already possessed an insurmountable lead. If Wyoming had a major concern in its opener it was the lack of pass rush. That should change Saturday in San Marcos. However, the Cowboys could also be without starting corner, Antonio Hull, who is back in California dealing with a “personal issue.”
Wyoming’s passing offense looked an awful lot like it did last season. Inconsistent, invisible at times and didn’t factor much in the outcome. Raghib “Rocket” Ismail Jr., a Texas native, had the biggest day for a Cowboy wide out, snagging two passes for 42 yards. He looked great on the slant pass, getting high up in the air and his back to the defender. Austin Conway, Jackson Marcotte and Ayden Eberhardt also caught a pass from Chambers. That’s not near enough production from the passing game. That’s no secret to Wyoming head coach Craig Bohl – or Chambers. He knows he needs to be better. Saturday, he will be facing a veteran secondary. Texas State returns everyone from a formidable defense in 2018.
ADVANTAGE: Toss up
Well, it’s apparent Texas State didn’t get much of a push up front in its opener. The Bobcats gained just eight total yards on the ground and gave up three sacks. Pass protection was the strong suit. Texas State quarterbacks racked up 211 passing yards and a score. The guys from San Marcos return the left and right guard, Jacob Rowland and Reece Jordan, respectively. Senior center, Aaron Brewer, is the anchor of the line. Their opening audition wasn’t pretty, and the Bobcats started a freshman at left tackle, but Texas A&M isn’t exactly a cupcake, especially at Kyle Field. Look for improvement in week two.
This might have been Wyoming’s best group in the opener. In fact, I’ll go out on a very strong limb and say the Cowboys front five is the main reason they were able to shock the college football world Saturday at War Memorial Stadium. Big statement, I know. All kidding aside, Rudy Stofer, Eric Abojei, Keegan Cryder, Logan Harris and Alonzo Velazquez were outstanding. There wasn’t a weak link. They moved Mizzou defenders off the ball and had little trouble reaching the linebackers. Texas State runs a three-man front. Wyoming’s offensive line will face an experienced pair of defensive ends and three of the best linebackers in the Sun Belt in Bryan London, Frankie Griffin and Nikolas Daniels. But after taking it to an SEC team – and from their words – I don’t imagine this group will be intimidated in the slightest. Expect them to just get better this Saturday night.
Tomorrow, we break down the defensive matchup.